Things have been pretty quiet around here, as I spent the final quarter of 2011 up to my gills in novel revisions and the first few weeks of the new year gallivanting around the country on top secret clown business. There's quite a bit to get caught up on, but rather than attempting a massive digest of everything of note that's happened since I instituted radio silence last autumn I'll just stick to making one or two (relatively!) bite-sized posts for the next few weeks. Without a doubt, the first thing I want to mention and briefly blather about is the news that The Enterprise of Death has been shortlisted for a Red Tentacle, the Kitschie Award for Best Novel of 2011.
The Kitschies, for those not in the know, are a juried award given out by the website Pornokitsch in conjunction with Kraken Rum (best Dark n' Stormy fuel on the planet) to "the year's most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works of genre literature." I'm on the Red Tentacle ballot with China Miéville, Jane Rogers, Lavie Tidhar, Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd. Even more awesome than that, Orbit's killer designer Lauren Panepinto is up for the Inky Tentacle Award (Best Cover Art) for her work on Simon Morden Equations of Life--it's rare that you'll hear me champion anything over an Umberto Eco novel, but the design on The Prague Cemetery, while undeniably cool, doesn't hold a candle to Lauren's badass covers for Morden's trilogy. To celebrate Lauren and I being up for Kitschies, Orbit is holding a giveaway for copies of both Enterprise and Equations of Life--all you have to do is visit the site and plug in your info to be entered to win.
It's been over a week since I found out Enterprise was shortlisted and I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it. It may be cliche to say that it's an honor just to be nominated, but cliches are formed for a reason, and goddamn, this is about as honored as I've ever felt. Maybe it's boring, stereotypical author neuroses or maybe it was having the book be even more divisive with critics than The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, but whatever the reason I had begun to question whether I'd pulled off what I'd attempted with Enterprise. Now, mileage obviously varies and the individual reader will be their own judge of the book's quality, but I never could have predicted how reassuring and edifying it feels to have had the book be recognized by the Kitschie jury (check out juror Anne Perry's wonderful review here).
Of course being nominated doesn't prove that I'm a good writer. Of course it doesn't make me a better writer than I was before. All it means is that a jury of four people really liked it. Yet hearing that four people who critically examined the novel really liked it, and appreciated it enough to count it as one of the best novels of the year, feels like having an elephant-sized syringe of pure euphoria and confidence injected directly into my heart. I never expected anything like this to happen, nor could I predict how grand a sensation it is. And so thank you, my friends and readers, my agent and editors, my peers and haters, whose support, encouragement, and criticism has been so useful and inspiring to my work--without it I never could have written Enterprise, an experience which was and continues to be its own reward.
Too sentimental? You're talking to the guy who can't watch The Fellowship of the Ring without blubbering through the Shire, Moria, and the Falls of Rauros--I'm a big old softie of the first water. I better dip out before I start thinking too hard about how rough Denethor's boys have it or I'll be dribbling into my keyboard. Again. Thanks again, one and all, for taking the time to read my scratchings, and best of luck to everyone on the Kitschie ballots--cheers!
[Cross-posted to my website]
Ride the Tiger
You can see his stripes but you know he's clean
- The Enterprise of Death Shortlisted for Kitschie Award, and Resulting Book Giveaway!